Strategic HR

New Survey Finds Increased Business Transparency Leads to Engaged Employees

An overwhelming majority (75%) of American workers care a great deal about the overall business performance of their employer, but very few lack the full insight that leads to increased motivation and engagement. This is according to The Business Performance and Buy-In Report, released by Kimble Applications, which analyzed the attitudes of full-time employees throughout the U.S. related to the health and long-term outlook of the organizations they work for now and in the future.

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Glaring Need for More Transparency

While it is encouraging that a full three-quarters of American workers care deeply about the well-being of their employer, only 23% say that they have full insight into how their organizations are actually doing. This indicates that business leaders could be far more transparent with their workforce and are failing to capitalize on this widespread dedication and interest.

Many employees did not have knowledge of several of their organization’s key business metrics despite clearly having a strong desire for this information—65% did not know their employer’s revenue, 70% did not have a clear understanding of both profit and financial forecasts, and 74% did not know the headcount.

This lack of full transparency has brought about trust-related issues amongst a surprisingly high number of suspicious workers—a concerning sign for organizations looking to bolster engagement. Nearly half (46%) of employees said that they were not confident that the information provided by their employer regarding the overall health of the business is a fair representation of reality.

Sharing Leads to Caring

Employers may want to rethink their information-sharing practices, as the report indicates that it could have a direct impact on the production, development, and morale of their workforce. Nearly a third (31%) of employees said that more transparency regarding the overall health of the business would allow them to better understand their employer’s goals and nearly a quarter (23%) said that it would cause them to be more motivated. Additionally, more than one in 10 respondents said that they’d perform better (17%), take on more of a leadership role (16%), and would be less likely to take a competing job offer (14%).

“Business leaders across the U.S. should feel encouraged by the fact that so many employees care deeply about the performance of the organization, but there is work to be done to take this devotion and turn it into true engagement that will deliver strong and sustainable results,” said Mark Robinson, cofounder of Kimble Applications. “When appropriate, I’d encourage executives to be as open as possible with their staff about the performance of the business. It allows them to see the impact of their hard work in the good times, and will be a clear indicator of what needs to be accomplished if there is a downturn. The goal should be to develop trusted, motivated employees that have the ability and necessary knowledge to make the right decisions at the right time for the betterment of the company.”

Short-Term Gains Vs. Long-Term Organizational Stability

The practice of “job-hopping” has nearly doubled in the last 20 years, according to a study published by LinkedIn last year—indicating that Millennial employees are the most likely to make several career moves within limited timespans. The Business Performance and Buy-In Report examined this issue, and determined that the long-term business outlook of a prospective employer was not a concern for many of these Millennial employees if the move results in an immediate boost to their career.

Twenty-two percent of Millennial employees (ages 18 through 34) would consider taking a job with an organization that didn’t have a positive long-term outlook if it meant they’d be advancing their career in the short-term. Comparatively, only 16% of employees aged 55 and older felt this way, demonstrating how this demographic values stability as they approach retirement.

Additional Findings

  • Only 33% of employees believe that they make a major impact on their employer’s business performance, suggesting that increased transparency may lead to more engagement and investment in their work.
  • Older workers, who typically have the longest tenures and most seniority, care more than Millennials when it comes to the overall business performance of their employer—80% of those 55 and older say that they care a great deal, compared to 70% of those ages 18 to 34.
  • Only 7% of employees say that more transparency would cause them to be more stressed, suggesting that more readily available information would not be burdensome to most.

Survey Methodology

The findings are based on a Google Consumer Survey of more than 1,500 full time employees in the United States, aged 18 and over. Google Consumer Surveys automatically fields a validated, representative sample of respondents which was weighted against the U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey for age or gender of the United States to be representative of the adult Internet population.